According to the latest special report from the European Court of Auditors, a lot of work remains at the global level to make electric mobility a reality.
The title of the report could not be more explicit: ” more charging stations but unevenly distributed across the EU, making it more difficult to travel“. Most of the objectives announced several years ago are unfortunately far from being achieved at European level.
250,000 charging points in September 2020 in Europe
In the 2017 action plan, Europe had a clear objective: to have 440,000 charging points spread across the continent before the end of 2020. At the time, only 34,000 charging points were available, and in September of last year, the commission identified 250,000.
This represents a significant increase, the number of charging stations having multiplied by more than 7 in about 3 years. However, the objective to be met seems impossible: to have 1,000,000 terminals open by 2025, 3,000 would have to be installed per week for the next 4 years.
Unequal distribution on the continent
Within the Europe of 27, three countries account for nearly 70% of all charging stations: Germany, France and the Netherlands. Thus, it is common to find oneself elsewhere in an electric desert, severely hampering mobility within the old continent.
In addition, the Court of Auditors points the finger at what is obvious for any driver of electric vehicle today: it’s hell to navigate between all the operators and the different billing methods.
Depending on the charging point operators and mobility service providers they use, electric vehicle drivers may need to purchase multiple subscriptions and use different payment methods.
Unfortunately, in 2021, the situation for electric mobility in Europe is still far from ideal. The report of the Court of Auditors highlights the fact that not all charging points can be used without taking out a contract, despite the recommendations going in this direction.
An insufficient rate of use to be profitable
While the European success in adopting a standard for charging (Type 2 for alternating current, Combo CCS for direct current) is real, the implementation of charging stations is for the moment a failure.
The reason may be to look for the side of the use of existing sites. Indeed, the current usage rates of charging stations are much too low to ensure profitability for operators. In fact, we find ourselves in a paradox: many more terminals are needed for electric mobility at European level, but the existing terminals are already underused.
The electric vehicle market is still in its infancy, and it is expected to experience strong growth in the coming decade, however the levels of use of current infrastructure worries the Court of Auditors with regard to the sustainability of these investments. Of course, this report focuses on public charging stations, and Tesla’s proprietary network of Superchargers is not included in the reported figures.